People have loved bread and bakery since early history and now, in our social media age, it’s hard to imagine a world without bread. We’re obsessed – you can find 6 million Google results for ‘selfies with bread’! Bread is Britain’s most consumed food, bought by 96% of households.

At £3bn, bread is one of the largest categories in the supermarket, a key driver of retail footfall and one of the most important purchases for retailers and customers alike.

With 81% of bread sales attributed to branded bread, Allied Bakeries play a crucial role in addressing changing consumer demands. Zoe Taphouse sees three major trends driving bread sales: private label is growing, as retailers seek to differentiate their offerings;

premiumisation, as consumers look for better quality and craft style breads; and health, with growth in seeded and healthier white breads, as shoppers look for healthy but tasty alternatives. Premium bread sales are up +11.4% YoY [Nielsen), with evening consumption a major factor.

Consumers are more willing to indulge in the evenings, but they are busier these days, hence evening sandwich eating is up 16% (Kantar) January saw Kingsmill’s Allinson’s brand launch a new premium range of craft-style loaves in paper packaging, bridging the gap between in-store bakery and wrapped bread by combining wrapped bread’s shelf life with in-store bakeries’ taste cues. Allinson’s craft-style loaves come in 10 Seeds & Grains, Olive & Rosemary and Honey & Wholemeal.

Allinson’s traditional 650g core range of smaller loaves, aimed at smaller households, is also doing well. Relaunched in January 2017, the range is now offered in paper packaging.

Value sales were up 31% in January/March. One or two person households now represent 65% of UK homes and set to increase 3.8%, says Zoe Taphouse:

“Smaller households typically have more disposable income and greater product flexibility, yet many grocery products are tailored to families, rather than this important group.”

Making a healthy crust

‘Healthy’ means different things to different people in 2018, prompting the growth of various segments of the ‘healthier bakery’ sector including ‘50/50’ bread with hidden whole grains and seeded breads and a shift from traditional wholemeal loaves. Kingsmill 50/50 is Allied Bakeries’ best-selling Kingsmill SKU and number one in the Healthier White segment with 62% share and sales up 18% annually. Trusted brands and products are crucial in reassuring parents about hidden whole grains’ benefits, especially when linked to products their kids will eat without a fuss.

An everyday seeded option for families, Kingsmill Super Seeds launched in January in 800g and 400g laves. Made with linseed, sunflower, poppy and pumpkin seeds, it is a valuable source of fibre and Omega 3. Another growing part of Allied Bakeries’ portfolio, Burgen capitalises on seeded and premium loaves’ popularity. Burgen Soya & Linseed is high in protein, fibre and calcium, with two slices providing over 20% of the average person’s RDA of calcium.

Warburtons “Toastie” sourdough’s success

Following sourdough’s runaway success in pizzas and crumpets, Warburtons, the UK’s number one wrapped bakery brand has launched Toastie with Sourdough, offering all the great quality of a Warburtons Toastie with the added flavour of sourdough, to make it even tastier. Tangy, tasty and chewy, the new thick cut loaf is perfect for those shunning brunches out for homemade brunches in, and those seeking the scrumptious sourdough flavour at an affordableRRP of £1.75.

In other moves this autumn, Warburtons has expanded its range of Sandwich Solutions with its new Bistro Deli Buns, soft and tasty flatbread buns in two delicious flavours, White and Malted Grains & Seeds, baked with premium ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil, grains, seeds and honey. Warburtons are pioneers in sandwich solutions and were first to market with Warburtons Sandwich Thins in 2011 and Toastie Pockets in 2017.

Darren Littler, Innovations and Product Marketing Director at Warburtons says: “As bakery innovators with over 140 years’ experience, we’re always looking to develop new products that meet changing consumer needs.

Another addition to Bistro range is Warburtons’ Brioche Burger Buns, addressing the growing trend of premiumisation and increased demand for gourmet buns, a market which has tripled in three years as consumers take inspiration from out of home trends.

The new, high-quality Brioche Burger Buns are pre-sliced for convenience and made with egg and butter for an authentic brioche flavour and perfect for recreating the gourmet burger at home.

Naturally rich in plant protein and full of flavour, pulses’ consumption in bread is growing and they are now eaten at 536 million occasions, up 17% since 2015. Worth £234m in total, the seeded segment is important in attracting new shoppers and growing the category– almost two thirds (63%) of seeded growth is incremental to the Wrapped Bread category. Warburtons’ new Pulses & Seeds Batch loaf provides consumers with an easy and tasty way to incorporate added protein in their everyday diet and offers a delicious combination of 11 pulses, seeds and topped with Oats, Malted wheat flakes and sesame seeds, delivering an all round wholesome taste.

Breadvenience – a new era in British bakery

Bakery brand Baker Street, part of Carrs Foods, has identified an emerging phenomenon – breadvenience. Convenience is key for time-pressured consumers, who expect to be able to buy bread whenever they want, in the most convenient format for their needs.

Carrs Foods invested £500k in this year’s relaunch of its fresher for longer brand, Baker Street, targeting breadvenience. The range includes rolls, burger buns and sliced loaves, all packed to retain freshness, ensuring longer shelf life without compromising on quality.

Baker Street’s research into the need for breadvenience found bread going stale too quickly was consumers’ biggest frustration (49%), followed by not having bread at home (42%), retailers running out (36%) and only having large loaves available (32%). Freshness was the most important criteria for 78% of respondents, with 42% looking for longer shelf life when buying bread.

Despite bread being an essential staple, many time-pressured consumers admit to running out. 22% of British adults surveyed admitted running out most often in a typical week, second to milk (38%) and way ahead of fruit (13%).

Those most likely to find themselves without bread were 45-54s, at 27%, versus 17% of 18-24s. The level was higher among households with two children (27%) and those with teenagers from 12 to 16 (28%).

People stockpiled bread in the snow last winter, but Baker Street’s survey shows bread is high on the shopping list all year round. Nearly half of consumers said they would buy bread, be it a loaf (24%) or burger buns or hot dog rolls (25%), during hot weather. Purchasing burger buns and hot dog rolls in hot weather was highest among 18-44s (33%.)

In winter or cold, wet weather, a loaf of bread becomes the second most common food purchase with 42% doing so, second only to soup (58%) and ahead of milk (36%) and hot puddings (35%). So watch the weather forecast this winter and order in good time!

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